BEREAVED parents will no longer have to pay child funeral costs in Leeds after a council decision to scrap the fees.

The decision to abolish charges for cremations and burials for children was announced by Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake during the debate on the authority’s budget for 2018-19. The measure, which comes into force from Thursday, March 1 has been praised by the co-chair of the Leeds Bereavement Forum Xina Gooding Broderick.

Mrs Gooding Broderick, who runs Gooding Funeral Services in the Potternewton area of the city, said: "We fully support this change in policy. Losing a loved one is difficult at the best of times and losing a child is absolutely heartbreaking."

"As funeral directors we see at first hand the impact that losing a teenager or a child who is barely a few months or years old can have on parents. It is a dreadful situation to find oneself in.

"Our view at the Leeds Bereavement Forum is that anything that can be done to ease the pain for grieving parents has to be worthwhile."

She added: "As a certified grief recovery specialist, I know how the cost of funerals can be one of those things that pile on the agony for parents. We’ve never charged for a child’s funeral at Gooding Funeral Services and it’s my understanding that many of the funeral directors across the city don’t charge either. The decision by the council is the last piece in the jigsaw and it means people in Wharfedale who might use Otley Cemetery, Guiseley Cemetery and Rawdon Crematorium and who are in the unfortunate position of having lost a child will at least know that there won’t be any burial or cremation charges."

The new policy means that charges, which currently can be up to £303 for a cremation and £1,066 for a burial will end in the Leeds City Council area.

The change in policy is something that former Leeds North West MP Greg Mulholland has campaigned on for some years and it mirrors a trend which has been gathering pace with local authorities across the country in recent years.

Announcing the policy, Coun Blake said the move was a tangible illustration of the concept of Leeds recognising itself as a "compassionate city."